(MENAFN - Arab News) The British Embassy announced yesterday changes in the passport service for British nationals living in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere outside the United Kingdom.
"British nationals in Saudi Arabia will be now required to submit their passport applications to the Identity and Passport Service in the UK and this will be effective from Feb. 11," said a spokeswoman of the British Embassy.
She said that the application process had been centralized for the British expatriates. The change follows reviews by the UK's National Audit Office and is designed to achieve economies of scale, greater security and consistency in decision making, she said.
All British passports have also enhanced sophisticated security features designed to reduce the likelihood of identity theft and passport fraud.
Before Feb. 11, British nationals living in Saudi Arabia submitted passport applications to a regional processing hub in Dusseldorf, Germany. Now the UK government has advised British nationals on the new passport application process.
All the information required to make an application can be found at https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport-abroad.
Applicants will be required to send applications to the Passport Customer Service Center. There will be no change in the processing time. Fees charged by British citizens applying overseas are based on the current costs of providing the service.
There are approximately 20,000 British nationals permanently residing in Saudi Arabia.
Asked about the issuance of British passport in emergency cases, she said that, "If a British national needs to travel urgently but his/her normal passport is not available, then he should contact their nearest consular assistance team." In certain circumstances, British consular staffers may be able to issue an Emergency Travel Document, but this is not a substitute for a full UK passport, she observed.